Free speech on the Internet

Posted: November 30th, 2013





Free speech on the Internet

Free speech pertains to the ability to present one’s views without opposition or recrimination. The freedom of a people the world over is measured by the ability to speak and present one’s ideas freely. Free speech includes presenting views in different media including utterances, print, and visual media. The Internet has enabled people to utilize these media to a point of contention. The cause of disagreement about this matter lies in how people use their freedom to express themselves freely on the internet. Some use this freedom in a manner considered unethical or even dangerous in some instances and have requested that such content should be censored to protect society’s moral fabric. On the other hand, others believe that free speech should not be monitored as it creates a double standard in what is supposed to be a freedom. The internet is worth more than the world is ready to lose, but certain freedoms with regard to speech have to be restricted to protect society from the negative content it propagates.

The negative aspects of the internet content are creating a boundless society that with no chance of ever repairing the damage. The internet exposes people who use the internet to pornography, hate speech, lewd material and other similar items. There are several reasons as to why such material should not be loosely availed on the internet. Take pornography as an example. There is no way of stopping a young child who does not know any better from visiting websites with such content, or even stopping them from creating a sex chat profile where they are in danger of having an encounter with sexual predators. Hate speech has been used in the past incite people to engage in violent activities that led to the loss of innocent lives. The internet has been used by people with extremist ideology that have caused havoc in the world.

In a society that materially uses the internet, it is necessary for the content to be monitored to sift through what is correct and what is unacceptable. Children today consider the internet an essential aspect of their lives. This means that the internet plays a major role in the socialization process of children. The more they use the internet, the more likely they are to come across such content. Parents, teachers and relevant stakeholders cannot keep a constant watch on how children make use of the internet. It would be tragic for a young, impressionable mind to be socialized in the spirit of hate. In a country that values peace and service to man and country, it is not a guarantee that these same lessons in values are offered on the internet.

It would take a long time to determine the advantage the internet has offered to the world, but I could say the same for the bad. The argument here is not to put a stop to free speech, but rather, that the questionable content should be put of the internet. It is understandable that the internet is an easier source of information and other content, but if someone feels the need to get pornographic material, it is better, they get it in person where the provider ascertains the age of the buyer.

The logic behind free speech based on this argument presents a double standard, that people are free to express view just not certain views. This is unfortunate, but it is unavoidable. There are those who have misconstrued the right to free speech and taken advantage of this to incite people to harm each other and take advantage of young minds’ curiosity and innocence. The internet is perhaps the best thing to have happened to the world in terms of technological advancement; however, we need to control the menace it presents to the society.

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